Bill To Guarantee Qualifying Students Admission At Any Illinois University Runs Into Opposition

A proposal to automatically admit students to any public college or university in Illinois if they meet certain standards is running into opposition, primarily from the University of Illinois system.

Rep. André Thapedi (D-Chicago), who was unsuccessful in pushing through similar legislation in 2018, is sponsoring a revised proposal this year to guarantee that any student who graduates from an accredited high school in Illinois and who meets certain academic standards would be guaranteed admission to any of the state’s public higher education institutions.

Thapedi told a House committee Thursday that the primary aim of the bill is “to keep our best and our brightest students here in Illinois,” many of whom, he said, leave Illinois to attend college elsewhere.

But he also said it’s intended as a form of affirmative action for minority students and other under-represented groups on Illinois college campuses. He specifically pointed to U of I’s Urbana-Champaign campus as a source of concern because of its small proportion of minority student enrollment — 5.2 percent African-American and 9.3 percent Hispanic.

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